In so many ways, all eyes were on New York City. Not just for what had happened, but for what we were. NYC is one of the broadcast centers of the nation. And, slowly, the media began to shake off the darkness. We all know how Letterman, John Steward, SNL and even Howard Stern started up their shows-both trying to acknowledge the change while conceding that some things, like the need to laugh, never change.
I had a small part in all this. Half way across the country, PHC had been on its hiatus with reruns for the summer. Their season opener was set for 10/6/01. Not for nothing, but by that time, my day job had been back up and running in Lower Manhattan for weeks. We were pressing forward, step by step, with the ashes and smoke still drifting out of Ground Zero. Work pushed us forward. But, try writing comedy.
The one thing the show had going for it was that over the summer Keillor had undergone heart surgery. He opened with that (which also was written by me). Then he went into one of his Wobegon monologues (which was usually done toward the end). He was going to get back into their routine as quickly as possible.
Anyway, it was time to write something to submit. The heart surgery was a quick bit I had done weeks earlier after I first read the news. But something new? That was proving tricky. One thing that was kind of annoying to me at this time was the sudden rush of patriotic commercials that were hitting the air. Everyone was trying to acknowledge the tragedy while still selling their wares. And some of the connections were really weak. So, that's how I decided to handle it...